Why is it special

Crucial wheat genes identified

Published: Saturday 15 May 2004

Researchers from US-based University of California have isolated one of the two wheat genes that control vernalisation -- a plant's ability to flower only after exposure to a cold season. They identified vrn2, the gene that halts wheat plants' flowering during winter. The researchers had in 2003 cloned vrn1, the other vernalisation gene that sets off the flowering.

Mutation in either one of the genes results in varieties that don't need a cold season to mature. The discovery of both the genes will improve the understanding of how wheat was able to traverse from areas with long, cold winters to temperate zones. "This will make us better breeders," says Jorge Dubcovsky, the lead researcher.

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